Back to what happened in this test.
First Innings: India limps to 250's vicinity.
India was tottering and was likely to holed out before 200 hundred but Ganguly farmed the tail and made sure the threshold of 200 was crossed. VRV Singh played a very typical number eleven innings. he whacked them to all parts something that would have tickled a dying souls funny bone. India manged to get into 250's neighbour hood. India in the morning was on 150 with 5 down.
Greg Chapell suggested that every run was twice the value. India nearly made 100. They looked in great spirits after VRV clobbered everything with his range. It was good to see Ganguly scoring. His innings sent a very strong message.
South African First innings scythe by Indian.
The bowling was one of the most aspiring and incredible part of this team. The team was out played in kind in the One Days and they do want to return it. After being bruised battered, sniffed tickle and bounce it was South African batting which need to answer some swinging questions.It did swing but there was a tame shameless surrender instead of a bold message. I think the thoughts of annihilation triggered South African collapse. You have to do more than just dream in oder to achieve. The top order had to face just seven over. The scorecard at lunch read 5 run for three wickets. Great delight for me.
India often let teams of the hook but not this team. The just pulled the carpet from SAfs feet and made sure they remain down in the dumps. Sreesanth got it to swung all day and claimed what Gavaskar called a Pfeiffer. It was to great joy for me to see some young fast bowler dishing things out to the opposition. The catching was amazing, fielding good only thing lacking is the top order to fire along with Tendulkar to blast Pollock out of attack.
Indians tend to win more when they excel in the field some amazing catches made sure that SAfs never reached triple figures, their lowest total since their re-admission to international cricket.
Indian second Innings: Will they screw up?
It comes up every time in my mind. They looked tottering with Dravid out for one it looked totally a vain attempt, Tendulkar played wonder fully to get out. Laxman stuck to task mean while Ganguly went to go over the top. Ntini got him. Laxman stood among the ruins and Zaheer manged to able support him for a partnership of 70 which made sure, India score above 200 in the second innings was over.
The icing on the came was yet to come. Andre Nel, a clown also speaking to batsman for no reason, he tried to ruffle Sreesanth, who smacked Nel out of the boundary for a huge six, an incident which followed is beyond words may be i will put a link to its video some day. Truly awesome.
Second Edit begins.
The first edit was as a result of just about managing the post when one finds time at the days end. it may not be tiring as always. I wanted to write more but then leave office as well. I wrote whatever I could...
India buoyed by late order batting.
The late order fought back and contribute crucial runs. Zaheer contributed a good hand of 37 he whacked mean while Laxman was all about touch, sublime touch may I say. The late floursih helped India to pull some momentum and push the score beyond the psychological barrier of 400. In test matches it is not very often that one sees a team chasing down 400 batting last. If one is as good (or bad) as the last inning, then this meant a countdown of a famous (read rare) Indian victory abroad especially away from sub continent.
The six by Sreesanth and the consequence dancing gyrations just summed up the whole test match. I am still laughing for it, if someone has it then please forward it to me.
Gibbs drives and Tendulkar nestles a catch.
They say nothing stops the inevitable. Zaheer Khan who got into the team through merit and made the case sure with his performance in ODIs. SAfs (read South Africa) had to play only six balls, an over. Zaheer pitched one up, Gibbs was tempted, playing away from the body he bottom edge to Tendulkar in first slip and pouched it like it was his dear baby. It is good to see Tendulkar in first slip. It is a positive more. Dravid in his own right is a brilliant slip catcher. Will he return there when his broken finger recovers, case to be seen.
The beginning of an end.
India nine more wickets away from victory. Gibbs bagged a pair, thats, a big nought in both the innings, courtesy over confidence and under estimation. Then it was Sreesanth show again. Captain Humongous Graeme Smith slashed hard and Sehwag caught a scorcher of a catch. India's catching and conceding extras are true signs of their intentions of winning. Amla whacked Sreesanth only to be pouched again caught behind of a delivery which rose and move away just enough.
A partnership blossomed but you Kallis followed the pavilion after getting a start ans startled by a Sreesanth delivery was caught in the slip, the commentators are all over Sreesanth and so are the advertisers, I see some big brands and big money coming his way.
The next wicket was a prime example of India doing the basic right and fielding well, (not superb at this stage) DeVillers reminds me of Ponting in his early career run for suicide Zaheer made his presence felt when his under arm flick saw Devillers short of crease. SAfs five down at the close of play on day three.
Day four, India's hour.
India need just five wicket taking deliveries to wrap it up and kick the faces of India media who made sure India would never ever close to even drawing one match. It is a pleasant suprise for all of us. But there is alway a hope of India doing well no matter how there form is.
The day could not start any better when Zaheer trapped Boucher in front of wicket, India on a roll. Pollock mean while decided to have a go at Indian bowlers he played much more than he could. Kumble to India's rescue beat Pollock on length and ball just kissed the top of leg stump, India closer to victory. Nel was then beaten for pace length and spin was crapped LBW guess who, Kumble. The next dismissal was as good as it gets, Kumble set it up allowing Prince to slip into a territory where he thought he could smack anything. he scampered down the pitch only not finding his length and ball hitting the stumps. India on a threshold of victory.
Zahher Khan ended it all as he induced an edge of Ntini which resulted in Sehwag claiming a good catch. India won a famous victory.
A few lessons, a few queries and few facts.
India played well to bowl out SAfs on 84 which made sure SAfs were on back foot and running a losing race. India played perfect under dogs and followed the basics. The batsmen hung out and most played defiant innings to set it up. The bowlers stuck to task on bowling in the right place and often producing deliveries which made the batsmen to surrender his wicket and head towards pavilion. The seam up bowling was brilliant so was Kumble and Zaheer. The youth started the down fall (Sreesanth and VRV) and age completed it(Zaheer and Kumble).
Laxman made sure he did not repeat the same mistake. He had a started he has to tighten up at times may be by the quality of his strokes. Tendulkar has to score runs. Ganguly has still to prove a lot although he has started well. The bowling looks good and imagine Irfan Pathan if out of the team, I don't think India will make changes to the team going into the next test. The opening is still a cause of concern let see them tightening up their game. Imagine Tendulkar coming down at 120 for 2 instead of 15 for two.
Dravid is the man of the moment.
A say a news channel hunting for SMS inquiring who is responsible for this victory and turn around in India fortune. Dravid no one else. If he has drawn much flak for India not doing well then he alone deserves the credit for victory. He has to be acknowledged more. He is still nursing an injury to his finger and came against medical advice and led India to victory. He weathered the storm and took a few more blows and made sure SAfs were always on the mat. His bowling changes were amazing and he kept talking the bowlers and plotting each downfall. Ganguly may have been a brilliant captain but most of his amazing victories are courtesy Dravid fighting it out and grinding the opposition into sub mission, (Adelaide and Headingley).
Dravid is the only one who deserves all the claim while team can savor the sweet victory.
Whateva u do; just watch the video on this link.